The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network

Great Ruaha River needs even greater conservation efforts as human activities unleash destruction

The Great Ruaha, a river which is lifeline to millions of people in the three regions through which its waters flow through, is in dire need of protection against serious acts of degradation.

In that respect, the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) has been asked to strengthen its program and efforts in saving the Great Ruaha River from all forms of environmental and water dilapidation.

The Iringa Regional Administrative Secretary, Engineer Leonard Masanja said as effects of climate change take toll on many water bodies in the country, River Ruaha is also being threatened by destructive human activities, siltation and pollution.

Engineer Masanja was having an official audience with a delegation from the National Environment Management Council that paid a courtesy call at his office.

With a basin catchment area encompassing nearly 84,000 square kilometers, the Great River Ruaha, which is also the life support for the Ruaha National Park, cuts across Iringa, Dodoma and Morogoro regions.

The Great Ruaha is the largest and longest River in the Central and Southern Zones of Tanzania, feeding the Usangu Wetlands before emptying into the even bigger Rufiji River via the Ruaha National Park, which is the second largest in the country.

On the other hand, Iringa is now served by the Central Zone’s office of the National Environment Management Council (NEMC), after the responsibility was taken from the Southern Highlands’ NEMC Zonal office.

During his meeting with NEMC officials, the Iringa RAS, Engineer Masanja expressed concern over the high rate of environmental devastation especially the destruction of water sources and invasion of catchment areas.

“Our region has been endowed with various sources of water but due to the recent drought spell, people are now invading the water sources which calls for joint intervention before it becomes too late,” Engineer Masanja stated.

As for Ruaha, the river has been suffering series of environmental destructive human activities including the tapping of its water for irrigation schemes in the paddy farms upstream.

“We must stick to conservation regulations including ensuring that no human activity takes place within a 60 meters buffer on both sides of rivers and other water sources,” the Iringa RAS maintained.

The Iringa Regional Environmental Officer, Dr. Golyama Bahat said some of the steps taken to preserve water catchments include the efforts to plant more than 35 million trees, all undertaken within this year.

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